See our Retention of Firearm Sales and Background Check Records policy for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
For every gun transfer, firearms dealers must make an entry in a sales record book specifying: 1) the complete description of the firearm, including the make, serial number (if any), type, and designation as a large capacity weapon, if applicable; 2) whether it was sold, rented or leased; 3) the date of transfer; and 4) the gender, residence and occupation of the transferee.1 Before delivering the firearm, the dealer must ensure that the transferee writes his or her full name in the sales record book, which must be open at all times to the inspection of the police. In the case of a handgun, the dealer must also document the license to carry number or the permit to purchase, rent or lease number, along with the firearm identification card (“FID”) number. In the case of a rifle or shotgun, the dealer must include either the FID or license to carry number.2 This information must also be submitted to the commissioner of the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) (formerly the Criminal History Systems Board) via an electronic communication link into the Massachusetts Instant Record Check System (MIRCS).3
Massachusetts law allows private sellers of firearms (those not licensed as firearms dealers) to sell up to four firearms per year. However, the seller must report the sale to CJIS within seven days, on forms furnished by CJIS. The seller must specify the names and addresses of the seller and the purchaser, together with a complete description of the firearm, including its designation as a large capacity weapon, if applicable, the caliber, make and serial number and the purchaser’s license number(s).4 Purchasers of firearms from private sellers are also required to submit this same information to CJIS (although they do not have to provide their license, permit or card numbers), independent of the seller.5